WOW. What a way to start off the year, forgetting to post these LOL. SORRY . Here you go!
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
The Damned by Renée Ahdieh
Synopsis From The Book
Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly.
But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien. Still recovering from injuries sustained during a night she can’t quite remember, her dreams are troubled. And she doesn’t know she has inadvertently set into motion a chain of events that could lead to her demise and unveil a truth about herself she’s not ready to learn.
Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.
The Damned, Renée’s latest installment in The Beautiful series is just as decadent, thrilling, and mysterious as her last, as she continues her most potent fantasy series yet.
Fantasy | YA – E |Character Death, Parental Neglect, Murder | Identity and Self Growth, Perseverance, Truth and Lies
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
Whoooo it has taken me time to read this, but it is the final vampire book of the month for me to read. I have been DYING to read this book since I got my hands on it. Which basically means I’ve starred at it long and hard and wished the contents could just implant themselves in my mind instead of picking up the book to read it.
Somehow that seems too daunting.
Either way, we are here, and we are going to read. And we are going to have fun. Because how can you not have fun reading about vampires in New Orleans? The answer is: it is very hard. I did have to go back through The Beautiful to reread my review of this, because it has been long and I did forget some of the details on what happened and what I thought. In general, however, I do remember. I also remember that we didn’t get much of the vampires themselves. I’m pretty sure that this is the last book in the series (with it only being a duology.) Not sure. Will get back to you on that after I read.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
YAY! That was amazing. After all the vampire books I read this month, finally I got one that I swooned over happily. Of course I knew that was going to be the case because I remember The Beautiful so fondly (despite how much I ripped that book apart in my first review). This book will get a next installment, which is lovely. I need more of this rich and luscious world. Thanks. I am so happy that this was my last pick for vampire books this month.
It was so worth the wait.
Bastien wakes as a vampire, and is distraught. He was supposed to live as a human, but Celine gave up her memories for him to be turned. He lashes out at his new found blood siblings, and then falls into drowning his sorrows. For weeks he is like this until his uncle takes him to a fight, and Bastien makes the choice not to kill his foe. The others are all moving about trying to keep Celine from getting her memories back. She is working at her shop and dating Michael but she keeps remembering horrors and she does not know why. One night, Celine goes to dinner at Jacques and sees Bastien. Determined to learn why she feels the way she does about him, she goes back again. They kiss and he tells her to leave and not to return.
Bastien goes with Arjun into the world of the Vale, to meet the Fae. He wants to try to meet a person in the Wyld (where the Vampires used to reign) that can undo him and make him mortal again. Instead he meets Celine’s mother and finds out that Jae betrayed them. They hunt down Jae and he reveals what he has done (which is more swear loyalty to their enemy, rather than betray them). Bastien reveals everything to Celine and she asks to see her mother. He takes her to see her mother and she convinces her mother to let her go to the Wylds with Bastien and Arjun.
They go and Bastien does not meet the person he was trying to meet. Instead they are forced to go back. Celine gets all her memories back, and she and Bastien let themselves love each other, and have sex. They then return home, to find Jacques burned to the ground. They confront the Brotherhood, who forces Bastien’s uncle to kill himself. War breaks out, as the human police arrive. Michael shoots his own cousin, when trying to save Celine from Emilie. Emilie kills Odette. Bastien lets Emilie go, and decides to banish her instead for what she has done. He has decided not to follow in the path of his predecessor. Michael, who becomes the pack leader, decides the same.
Bastien and Celine disappear to the Vale, when Celine is found by investigators for the man she killed. Pippa ends the book, looking for her friend.
What I Liked:
Bastien as POV; I think I prefer this book series in Bastien’s perspective. I remember having a bit of an ill feeling from Celine’s perspectives when I first read, but having Bastien’s I’s was the best. I really loved reading his turmoil and the book from him. I do wonder if book three will be told from another perspective now as the forefront. If it is, I will happily enjoy it. I feel like doing this helps round out the world and characters more as we see them from the eyes of others.
Lore; Oh! The fact that we are expanding even further into the magic and worlds is amazing. Going to the magic worlds was awesome. I really can’t wait for the third book where we can dive even deeper.
Character growth; I loved watching Celine and Bastien grow as characters. Celine looking to find answers in herself. Bastien choosing to be a man instead of a demon. It was great. I love it. I want more of it and I will fight for more of it. All of the characters have deepened their hold on me and I love them all so much more immensely than I did before. What am I supposed to do with that? I’m not sure.
Bastien and Celine; I got the development, so I am all here for it. I really liked seeing how their relationship was more in this book. I think I was too harsh on it in the last book, because I fully believed it in this one. Maybe it was the distance for be between reading the novels. I’m not sure, but I like it now.
Diversity; A lot more of this was addressed. I was happy to see this, and with the issues of the diversity in this time period being addressed, I can praise this book for having the diversity that it does. Which I am very much so grateful for.
Emilie; Okay, I’ll admit that not I care a lot more for her being the villain. I hated this in book one but in this book, it was obvious, expected, and I liked it. So I’ll take it. Clearly a good sequel if it lets me accept the villain more.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
“And is that not the best gift any trial in life can give you? The power to love yourself today better than you did the day before?”- pg 12
“The infinite captivates us because it allows us to believe all things are possible. That true love can last beyond time.” – pg 28